Tenant fails to get extra compensation for noise from refurbishment

A tenant has lost his appeal to increase the compensation offered by the landlord for noise and disturbance caused by refurbishment work.

The tenant was a dentist. In 2010 he had purchased a practice and had taken over the lease of its premises, which had a rent of £14,500 per annum.

The landlord began works to convert the rest of the building into a hotel. No works took place at the tenant's premises, apart from replacement windows. Scaffolding was erected in February 2012 and the works continued until November 2013.

The landlord waived the tenant's rent while the works were undertaken. Rent became due again in December 2013, but arrears accrued, and the landlord began proceedings.

The tenant counterclaimed for damages for breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment and avoidance of nuisance.

He claimed that, contrary to an agreement that noisy construction works would be restricted to certain hours, they had been conducted on numerous occasions outside the agreed hours, the scaffolding had obstructed the entrance to his premises, and his business had suffered because patients had failed to appreciate that it was still open and there had been many cancelled appointments.

The judge held that noisy works had generally been conducted only during the agreed hours.

He accepted that there had been no consideration given to the design of the scaffolding to minimise the inconvenience, but having regard to all the circumstances, including the financial compensation in the form of the rent waiver, the landlord had taken all reasonable steps to minimise disturbance to the tenant.

The Court of Appeal has upheld the judge’s findings.

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